Thursday, 20 March 2008

Justice for the Gurkhas

I was delighted to see yesterday's protest by the Gurkhas, demanding equal rights with others who have served in this country's armed forces.

These are people who have loyally served this country for many years, and many of them made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for the UK. All they're wanting is to be treated the same as many of their colleagues in the armed forces, with equal pension rights and the right to settle in this country if they so desire.

Anyone who knows anything about the Gurkhas knows that they are loyal, brave, committed and entrepreneurial (anywhere that the Gurkhas are based is likely to see several decent Nepalese restaurants springing up). These are exactly the sort of people we should be welcoming to this country.

The Government's position on this is simply indefensible. To say that because the Gurkhas were based in Hong Kong prior to 1997, people who retired before then are not entitled to equal rights is bizarre. They may have been based in Hong Kong, but they were serving THIS country. Can anyone else think of another nation which allows people to serve in its armed forces, but doesn't give them the right to settle in the country?

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was absolutely right to say that the Government's position is immoral. I just hope that yesterday's protest will help ensure justice for the Gurkhas soon.

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